Toxic “Reform” Law Will Gut State Rules on Dangerous Chemicals – The Intercept

I hope Washington State Representative Kevin Van de Wege is watching this and putting in his two cents to President Obama to veto this pending law. Kevin and many others throughout the State have fought very hard to bring laws to the books to reduce the use and proliferation of fire retardants and other chemicals proven to be ineffective in their jobs and dangerous to the environment. Now, the Republican dominated US Congress is set to forward onto the President an extremely bad reform bill that actually reforms our ability to challenge Federal management of these chemicals. Want to do something about it? Call or write Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Representative Derek Kilmer and President Obama and state that the Toxic Reform Bill is flawed law.

A NEW SET OF BILLS that aims to update the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act may nullify the efforts of states such as Maine  and California to regulate dangerous chemicals. The Senate’s bill, passed last month, just before the holidays, is particularly restrictive. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act — named, ironically, for the New Jersey senator who supported strong environmental protections — would make it much harder for states to regulate chemicals after the EPA has evaluated them, and would even prohibit states from acting while the federal agency is in the process of investigating certain chemicals.

The Senate’s version has some significant differences from the House bill — the TSCA Modernization Act, which passed in June — and the reconciliation process is now underway. If the worst provisions from both bills wind up in the final law, which could reach the president’s desk as soon as February, the new legislation will gut laws that have put Oregon, California, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, and Washington state at the forefront of chemical regulation.

Thanks to the Intercept, one of my favorite news websites, for bringing this to our attention.

https://theintercept.com/2016/01/11/toxic-reform-law-would-gut-state-rules-on-dangerous-chemicals/

Overview of Achievements by Olympic Peninsula Legislators – PDN

A good starting place to see what our elected officials actually accomplished, and what they didn’t.  You can go to the state website and find the details of all these bills, by looking at the links to the left on the page.

Peninsula legislators savor wins, swallow losses; 24th District delegation satisfied with 2015 session

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150727/NEWS/307279970/peninsula-legislators-savor-wins-swallow-losses-24th-district

House looking to pass a bill banning some flame retardants- Crosscut

Representative Kevin Van De Wege continues to attempt to get the ban on flame retardants through the legislature for a third year. Kevin has been the champion on this bill, which aims to get these cancer causing chemicals out of our home furniture (like your family couch and beds), along with getting them out of our waters. They have been found to be in Puget Sound and the fish we eat from it.

A bill to ban two flame retardants from children’s products and upholstered furniture is taking its third trip through the Washington Legislature. Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, introduced the bipartisan bill, which went to a House Environment Committee public hearing Monday. John Stang reports. (Crosscut)

http://crosscut.com/2015/01/20/under-the-dome/123669/flame-retardants-children-furniture-legislature/

Representative Van De Wege signs onto bill to ban & label GMO Salmon

Republican State Representative Condotta (R) co-sponsored  by Representative Van de Wege, have put forward bill HB 2143,  to ban genetically modified salmon in the State. This would ban net pen operations in state waters from farming any genetically modified salmon. It does not ban raising them in upland closed container sites. Additionally it calls for identification of farmed GMO fish vs. commercially caught salmon. Background on this is that Washington was the first state in the country, in 1993,  to make it a law to label salmon as wild or farmed. It was heavily opposed by the same industry coalition back then. But it passed. We led the way in salmon labeling, and the arguments are again being made that labeling and banning of these fish should be a Federal issue, not a State issue. They also say it will cause consumer confusion. I  personally don’t know many consumers who are confused as to wild vs. farmed salmon labels. In fact, it seems to have spurred purchase of wild salmon, as consumers know that they are getting what they want, as opposed to not knowing if it is or isn’t. That confusion is more likely to lead to other choices of protein.

The reasons for this bill that have been put forward is to codify the rules on avoiding cross contamination on GMO salmon and to add a simple label on GMO fish when they are sold in Washington State stores.

At the January 17th Public Hearing, testimony was hot and heavy. Industry spokespeople were out in force to attempt to stop the bill. Also citizen activists testified in favor of it. Industry is attempting to muddy the waters by claiming that this will ban research and development of genetic fish, some of which could be hampering work on human disease development. To be clear, the bill does not ban that research. It bans farming GMO salmon in State Waters. That is defined as navigable waters in the state. The Sound, Strait, Outer Coasts and freshwater rivers and streams are usually what is meant by that term. 

Some of the testimony (pardon me if the names are spelled wrong, they were not always clearly identifiable):

A panel opposed to the bill showed up to testify:

Alan Cook of Icicle Seafoods. They opposed  the bill claiming that GMO salmon are already banned in State waters.

John Dentler Director of Troutlodge. They are the oldest company in aquaculture in America. They  grow Sable Fish (Black Cod) and Shellfish. He claimed they have no plans on rearing GMO salmon and trout.  They want to  carve out an exemption  specifically for triploid (sterile) fish in the bill. Labeling aspect is troubling to them. If we specifically label to this State, they are faced with labeling requirements. National and State environmental policy acts handle these issues, he said.

John Bialka Pacific Aquaculture on the Columbia. They produce triploid trout for restaurant business. Not interested in raising GMO salmon. Opposed the bill.

Also in opposition to the bill.

  • Dan Swecker ex-salmon farmer and ED Washington Salmon Growers Assoc.
  • JIm Jesernig ofWashington Association of Wheat Growers –
  • Tom Davis Farm Bureau
  • Heather Hansen – Friends of Farms and Forest.  “True intent is to stigmatize genetically modified food”
  • NW Grocery Association
  • James Curry NW Food Processors Assoc. – Opposed to the bill.
  • Dan Coin – Biotechnology Industry Association – Opposed.

Showing up in favor of the bill

  • The Yakima Nation
  • Doug Milholland of Port Townsend. He brought up Salmon Confidential and the work going on in British Columbia against farmed and GMO salmon.
  • Senator Marilyn Chase 32nd district (D)  testified in favor of the bill.
  • Ann Mossmiss – Ex-Alaska Fisherman. Food and Society Policy Fellow Institute of Agriculture and Trade Culture. Very concerned about the new genetically modfied  National Academy of Scientists are very skeptical and concerned on this. She was a very convincing speaker with a great deal of background on the subject.

The bill will encounter stiff opposition in the House and Senate,if it even passes out of committee. I highly recommend that any of you wanting to weigh in on this bill do so now. Send emails to Representative Kevin Van De Wege’s office.

Watch the whole testimony here:

http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014010063

The Bill itself:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2143.pdf

Bill Analysis:
http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014010063

Peninsula lawmakers back new legislation banning toxic chemicals

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Representative Kevin Van de Wege (along with Rep. Steve Tharinger  and Senator James Hargrove who was not in the photo) talks to PT folks, helping roll out the latest “Toxic Free Kids and Families Act”. The latest version of the bill (ESHB 1294) will help stop the ‘toxic treadmill’ of chemicals, banning toxic flame-retardants like Tris in children’s products and furniture. Rep Van de Wege was a skeptical when this was first introduced in 2007, but as a firefighter asked to be convinced, and came around to support this whole heartedly. Thanks to Rep. Van de Wege an earlier version passed, but now needs to be strengthened. This bill was sponsored by Washington Toxics Coalition, over 20 NGO’s who are working to rid the Sound and our bodies of these toxins. 

EVENT: Rep. Van de Wege talking toxins – PT Monday Dec. 16

Rep. Kevin Van De Wege (D- Sequim), WA and Toxics Coalition Executive and Director Laurie Valeriano will host a Town hall meeting, with brief presentations by Rep. Van De Wege and Toxics Coalition. The Forum will take place at the Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Tyler Street in Port Townsend starting at 4:00 – 5:00 PM on Monday, December 16th They will be discussing the Toxic Free Kids and Family Act. They are hoping for constituent feed back and will answer questions. For more information, you can reach Kevin on through the following links and phone numbers: Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, 360.582.9830

Billie Toyra, 360.786.7224

Resolution to Wildlife Refuge Controversy Found

According to KONP Radio, Representative Van de Wege and Admiralty Audubon have found an solution to the controversy that was created when Rep. Van de Wege threatened to take back easements in the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge.

http://www.konp.com/local/8439

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